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The title Schicksalslied, inspired by Hölderlin’s poem, was Brahms’s most profound meditation on the tension between heavenly joy and earthly realities. The score opposes and combines the two states in an intensely dramatic way and the Eric Ericson Chamber Choir – who have been industry-standard for most of their long career – deliver the text with uncomplicated feeling. Nothing else on the set quite reaches the same standard of writing. Gesang der Parzen deals with a similar fate/freedom theme, but in a diminished way and the set rather peters out with the Liebeslieder-Walzer orchestrated from Brahms’s own opp. 52 and 65. A braver producer might have dispensed with the final 12 minutes and put the great Song of Destiny last. Fortunately, a good CD player will do that for you.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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